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poetry Auld Lang Syne

New Year's coming, a moment for memories, and a gift seldom appreciated until a person has lost the ability. Poet Jennifer L. Knox's Auld Lang Syne points to a sad irony.

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Auld Lang Syne

By Jennifer L. Knox

Dad couldn’t stop crying after Kathy moved him into the facility. When she came to visit, he’d cry and say he wanted to die. He said the same thing to the nurses. This went on for about a month until the doctor put him on an antidepressant especially for Parkinson’s patients. The next time Kathy came to visit, she found him in the cafeteria, talking to some of the other residents and not crying at all—just enjoying his lunch. When it was time for her to go, he didn’t cry, but rather calmly escorted her to the car. “Do you like this car? My wife and I were thinking about getting one,” he told her. “That’s very interesting,” Kathy smiled, “because I am your wife.” Dad chuckled, “Is that right?” He squinted over the palm trees towards the freeway. So many cars. Busy busy busy. “Well, we’ll see you later, then,” he said, and shook her hand firmly, the way he’d learned to do at Rotary. What funny new friends he was making.

The New York Times Book Review said Jennifer L. Knox's new book, Days of Shame and Failure, "hits, with deceptive ease, all the poetic marks a reader could want: intellectual curiosity, emotional impact, beautiful language, surprising revelation and arresting imagery." She  is the author of four books of poems. Her work has appeared four times in The Best American Poetry series and in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and American Poetry Review. She is the curator of the Iowa Bird of Mouth project and teaches at Iowa State University.

Originally published by the Academy of American Poets at